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What do we do about Climate Change?

 

We asked 3 local environmentalists if individuals can make a difference, or is it down to politicians to act? And how optimistic should we be? Photos: Team Locals Media

 

Southsea Lifestyle

Image: Team Locals

Nick Sebley of Extinction Rebellion www.rebellion.earth / Facebook @XRPortsmouth 

There are many environmental challenges, what worries you the most? Apathy. Fatalism. The lack of political response to the scientific community. Few people seem aware of the facts – we want to change that. 

 How concerned should we be about climate change? It’s like, you’re in a tower block, and a fire has started on the lower floors. How concerned should you be if you live on the top floors and no one is putting the fire out?

The UK government is working to zero emissions by 2050, have they got it right? It’s just greenlighted the largest carbon infrastructure project in Europe: the 3rd runway at Heathrow. I don’t think they are serious.

Do you think individuals can make a difference, or is it up to politicians to take action?  Individuals can green their own life and push for political change; they aren’t mutually exclusive, but it’s rare for politicians to enact radical change without pressure from below.

How can we make politicians take notice? Vote. Campaign. Divest from fossil fuels financially. Join Extinction Rebellion.

Suggest 3 things people can do to help our environment? People tend to sweat the small stuff, but there are 3 commitments that would halve most people’s carbon footprint: a) Switch to a 100% renewable energy supplier [often cheaper than the Big 6]. b) Commit to reducing your intake of dairy and farmed meat. c) Give up flying for leisure.

How optimistic are you that we can avoid severe climate change? We’ve just seen 5,000 climate strikes in 130 countries. Millions of people took to the streets. This gives me hope. 

Southsea Lifestyle

Image: Team Locals

Megan Howson of Friends of the Earth www.friendsoftheearth.uk/ Facebook @portsmouthfoe 

There are many environmental challenges, what worries you the most? Worldwide there are huge challenges, but in Portsmouth FoE, we are focussing on poor air quality. Car use is a major contributor, and we are campaigning for safer cycle lanes and routes for pedestrians. We want Portsmouth to double its tree cover, to be more creative about planting trees and flowers around the city. This will help absorb CO2.

How concerned should we be about climate change? We should be very concerned, particularly in our island city where flooding is a real possibility.  FoE would like the country to aim for zero emissions by 2030 rather than 2050.  

Do you think individuals can make a difference, or is it up to politicians to bring it about? Individuals can make a big difference. However, the larger issues of domestic heating, transport, and local development all need legislation to go forward. 

How can we make politicians take notice? Politicians must be clear in their manifestos on how they propose to fight climate breakdown so people can cast informed votes.  

Suggest 3 things people can do to help our environment? Use cars less — walk and cycle, use public transport. Recycle as much as you can. Buy UK-produced food to save air/ sea miles. The FoE website gives lots of advice.  

How optimistic are you that we can avoid severe climate change? FoE is optimistic that when everyone understands the calamity of climate breakdown and its impact, they will accept change is necessary.  The challenge is to persuade people of the need to change.

Image: Team Locals

Clare Seek of Portsmouth Green Drinks, which holds monthly meetings to bring environmental groups and individuals together. www.greendrinks.org/Portsmouth

There are many environmental challenges, what worries you the most? I’m worried about the cumulative effect of all these challenges and how the poor around the world are affected.

How concerned should we be about climate change? Extremely concerned…humans have lived far beyond anything sustainable for too long, and everything on our planet is paying the price.

The UK government is working to zero emissions by 2050, have they got it right? I believe it needs to be at zero well before that date, and the quicker we change, the quicker we can help others around the world do the same.

Do you think individuals can make a difference, or is it up to politicians to bring about?  Everyone needs to play a part; individuals, neighbourhoods, governments and business.

How can we make politicians take notice? Talk to them (in person or electronically) and join protests, they need to know that voters want change quickly if they want our vote. 

Suggest 3 things people can do to help our environment? Share more (we need to buy a lot less) Get outdoors (touch, look and smell the amazing world that’s around us). Join with others (share vegetarian recipes, plan holidays by train, share the school run on foot…)

How optimistic are you that we can avoid severe climate change? I’m more optimistic recently, as more people are becoming aware and are waking up to the crisis. Humans are creative, innovative, and caring – we can save our planet’s future together.


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